Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Wigan Album

Royal Albert Edward Infirmary


Aerial view 1951
Views: 1,128
Item #: 33402
Taken from the Wigan Handbook for 1951

Comment by: John G on 5th November 2021 at 17:00

Ron: This Hospital has been there for my family over the years, it was very good for me when I took the top of my thumb off on a machine.
The nurses were fantastic, they even made sure I had a pizza and a few cans on a weekend.
And we all had a laugh on the ward, if ever their was a hospital that’s over worked it’s this one, it’s bursting at the seams with no where to expand.I think it’s time to have a new Wigan super Hospital, the en-catchment area must be Huge. And since Billinge shut it now has baby’s and younger children to look after. I could be out of date now, may be they do have plans, but what I’ve seen it’s desperate.

Comment by: RON HUNT on 5th November 2021 at 19:34

John I've just been in Salford Royal for an Operation and have been going regularly over the last 12 months for various Check ups and the difference is immense Salford Royal is like a 5 star hotel compared to Wigan Infirmary A few years ago there was talk of demolishing it and rebuilding it somewhere else In hindsight they probably should have as the expansion of the building is constrained by its location.

Comment by: John G on 5th November 2021 at 20:30

That’s the thing about Wigan Hospital Ron, if they ever do build a New Hospital it may not be “”in”” Wigan.
To have a Super size Hospital, you need a lot of room, and radical thinking on a scale that may mean sacrifice for that space.
But if Wigan people want it in the same area then your looking at things like taking over grounds of Haigh Hall, and across the road, I worked in one for 14.5 years in Merseyside, it was connected by bridges, but the en-catchment area also included North Wales.

Comment by: Bruce Almighty on 5th November 2021 at 22:44

John G, Wigan hospital belongs to the NHS, which stands for the 'NATIONAL' health service. The catchment area for any hospital is 'National'. A fair number of Wrightington hospital patients are from Yorkshire and Cumbria, as well as the Isle of Man.

Comment by: Cyril on 6th November 2021 at 00:12

In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher was to stump up the money for a new build hospital for Wigan, and it was to be built at Hindley being the ideal place between Wigan and Leigh, however the land where it was to be built was at Amberswood and was the same land that Harold Wilson and partners secretly purchased. I didn't pay much attention when this was revealed at the time, but the scandal almost brought down the government at the time. Look it up on Mick'O Googler.

I don't think the reason why the new hospital was never built there was ever revealed, but a rumour was the council wouldn't give planning permission for the hospital to be built on that land, and yet the hospice was built there ten years later, another rumour was that it was to be built and paid for with Tory money. Maybe the real reason why could be on the Phillip Johnson tapes.

Comment by: John G on 6th November 2021 at 01:26

Thanks Cyril I did hear the stories when younger of Harold Wilsons involvement with purchasing land, I think the three sisters at Ashton was part of it.
I didn’t pay much attention to it myself at the time.

Comment by: John G on 6th November 2021 at 01:53

Bruce Almighty:
Yes Bruce your right about people coming to a hospital from any where in the land when in need, due to N H S, the Hospital I was involved with also had a Burns department, so was flown in all over when needed.
But new Hospitals over the last decade was put up by private finance initiatives, this was given the green light by Tony Blair.
The N H S did not own them, they leased them for 30year lease, and each Hospital was positioned to encompass a large area for every day needs, eg: A+E departments, out patients, etc.

Comment by: wigginlad on 6th November 2021 at 07:42

Royal Albert Edward, served the community well for many a year, had to use the A&E department on the odd occasion myself, always received first class attention. Next door is the Christopher home another fine establishment in its day. Thanks Ron, love these old photo's from yesteryear.

Comment by: Albert.S. on 6th November 2021 at 09:54

My youngest son was born in the Christopher Home, February, 1964.

Comment by: CJAlan on 7th November 2021 at 06:40

It's amazing to see that sixty years ago, how much of the Infirmary grounds were lawned and landscaped.

Very few people owned cars and there was no need for the car parking they need now.

I am sure if you were a patient at the Infirmary back in 1951, the nurses would have probably taken you outside to enjoy the garden surroundings.

Even Wigan Lane would have been a much calmer route with few traffic, so again it would have been a much more gentle environment to recover from illness or surgery.

Comment by: Bill on 7th November 2021 at 11:58

Cyril I would be interested to know any details of Harold Wilson owning land at Amberswood. From what I can remember the hospital site proposed was where the old fever hospital was and quite a way from the hospice.
There was some land that Lady Falkender,Wilsons aide, was involved in with Ronald Milhench who was jailed but the was the slag tip land off Hemfield Rd.

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 7th November 2021 at 21:28

You can nearly see our house from this shot although, you couldn't have, it hadn't been built. Come to think of it, neither had I. It makes you realise how big the hospital has become and how little space they have at their disposal now.

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